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"What appearance did the Athenian and Boeotian fighters ?" Topic

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Paskal Supporting Member of TMP17 Jun 2022 10:11 a.m. PST

Hello everyone ;

What appearance did the Athenian and Boeotian fighters have at the battle of Chaeronea which is a battle having opposed in Boeotia, on August 2, 338 BC. AD, Philip II of Macdoine to a coalition of Greek cities led by Athens and Thebes. Won by the Macedonian army, this battle establishes Macedonian domination over the Greek peninsula.

The appearance of the Athenians and Beothians were quite different from their predecessors at the Battle of Mantinea (362 BC)?

Regicide164917 Jun 2022 12:09 p.m. PST

Can you narrow or rephrase your question, Paskal? This might become a thread about variations in hoplite armour – about which the TMP community is knowledgeable but somewhat divided.

sidley17 Jun 2022 3:11 p.m. PST

Actually the appearance was very similar to the battle of Mantinea. Is there any reason you think it would not be?

It is likely the Athenians had the usual variety of traditional hoplites.

The Boeotians may all have had the club of Herakles on their shields or possibly only those hoplites from the city of Thebes with the others having the normal disparate designs.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP17 Jun 2022 10:18 p.m. PST

I read somewhere that at the time when Athene and Thebes were threatened by the Macedonians, their hoplites had, to protect themselves from the heavy sarissae, adopted the bronze "muscled" corselet, the cnemides and the Thracian helmet, nothing see with the equipment worn previously.

sidley18 Jun 2022 5:51 a.m. PST

That's a first never heard that and not sure the archaeological record bears it out. There had been little contact between the pike and hoplites for that to happen.

JJartist18 Jun 2022 11:13 a.m. PST

There seems to be more muscle fitted cuirasses found during the period of the rise of Macedon. The Osprey writer Nick Sekunda assumes this means more rich hoplites had access to them. Can't really say how many were so armored at Chaeronea. I would assume some were. I would not assume all were so heavily armored. The only thing I can say is that I doubt there is any uniformity of gear.
Also, our sources are unclear about the battle, and make no mention of weapon or armor superiorities on either side. That's all filled in by assumptions.

DBS30318 Jun 2022 12:05 p.m. PST

Agree entirely with JJartist.

A hoplite with an aspis and a helmet would be better protected than a Renaissance pikeman, and Renaissance writers commented on just how hard it was to cause actual serious injury to an opponent in push of pike, so I would hesitate to assume that metal corselets (or any body armour at all) would necessarily make a big difference.

sidley19 Jun 2022 4:30 a.m. PST

As stated there might have been a rise in richer hoplites. Duncan Head argues that from 390 BCE the metal armour was limited to cavalry, officers and maybe elite units.

Yet also we see more unarmoured hoplites, although this could be a response to the rise of more peltasts on the battlefield. These Ekdromoi gain in popularity and the Spartans certainly tasked he younger hoplites in these tactics.

So really you can mix and match unarmoured, linen and metal armoured hoplites in a single unit.

There is nothing to suggest that uparmouring hoplites was a reaction to the Macedonian pike. We do not even see that in the wars of the successors where the Diadochii were rulers of rich states who could afford that.

Interestingly, there are very few battles where the pike proved to be overwhelmingly superior to the hoplite. At Chaeronea and Alexander's battles the hoplite line was broken by being outflanked not run down by pike. Even the amateur Athenians did well in the Lamian war and were not steamrollered.

My personal view is that the pike was more manoeuvrable, as with the smaller shield, all he had to do was to raise his pike upright and he could turn, wheel or counter march. The citizen hoplite was far more cumbersome.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP19 Jun 2022 9:37 a.m. PST

I think it is logical that the hoplites wanted to protect themselves better in anticipation of the fights against the Macedonian sarissaries…

JJartist19 Jun 2022 10:28 a.m. PST

The Greeks in their actual words were more afraid of Philip's corrosive money, his ability to crack cities open, and his ability to wage war at any time of the year, than the phalanx made up of former goat herdsmen.

Many sources tend to point out that the Macedonian phalanx was created to be able to compete with the hoplite phalanx, not the other way around. The drilled standing (paid) army of Philip was the real threat to ad hoc Greek armies. Hoplites were well acquainted with Spartan drill and countermarch, but they just did not train together in big units so coordination was always their issue.
The Macedonian army could move faster than any Greek response.

Also sources have difficulty discerning if the Macedonian phalanx wore armor based on the 'rags to riches' speech of Alexander himself.

One thing for certain the sources reveal is the Macedonian recruits were drilled to march, use spear, pikes, and javelins, and were ready to assault cities when breached by Philip's wall cracking high tech artillery corps.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP20 Jun 2022 5:50 a.m. PST

It's good links, but we are not more advanced.

sidley20 Jun 2022 10:14 a.m. PST

I think we are there. The Greek hoplites were equipped the same against theMacedonians in the battle of Chaeronea and the Lamian war as they had been since the end of the Peloponesian War. They were much the same as they had been at the battle of Mantinea (362 BCE).

They did not uparmour hoplites with bronze armour and had no reason to. There is no evidence to suggest otherwise and this is borne out by Duncan Head in his books on the subject.

There is nothing in our accounts from ancient authors to suggest otherwise. The archaeological record does not change this either.

This is good news as you can use the same figures for a wider period.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP20 Jun 2022 11:56 p.m. PST

So what equipment and weaponry did the Greek hoplites carry at the battle of Chaeronea? And it was worn from when to when?

sidley21 Jun 2022 1:48 p.m. PST

Any book on fourth century hoplites should cover it. But all still used the Aspis (sometimes called the Hoplon) shield. The Thebans would have had the club if Herakles on the shield everyone else probably individual designs. Helmets would vary but the full Corinthian would be rare, the Attic, Chalcidian , Pilos or Boeotian would predominate.
For body armour, mostly linen corsets with a good number unarmoured and a few with bronze. Almost all would have greaves although some might have boots.
Have a look at Duncan Head book and also link

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2022 2:01 a.m. PST

It's weird, for example, I thought that the Spartan hoplites (for example) had abandoned any type of corselet (And that according to some, they only wore bell cuirass and the Corinthian helmet during the Persian Wars) and the Corinthian helmet to wear only the exomis and the Pylos helmet even before the Peloponnesian Wars?

And I don't think that the Beothian helmet is an infantry helmet and that it is worn by the Theban hoplites (as some would like) on the pretext that Thebes is in Beothia.

sidley22 Jun 2022 1:21 p.m. PST

There are existing illustrations of infantry with the Boeotian helmet even though Xenophon recommended it as ideal for cavalry. There was enough evidence for Victrix to produce an entire box of 28mm plastic hoplites with the Boeotian helmet option and their research is normally pretty good.
The Corinthian helmet is well illustrated for the sixth and fifth centuries. As helmets were mostly bronze and could be heirloom articles passed down in a family it is likely that each city would have a mix of styles with the obvious exception of Spartans from the Pelopenisian war when the Pilos helmet becomes popular. But Sparta was notoriously poor so as a state would issue cheaper equipment although there would always be better off individuals.
It is hard to be definitive but we can say that the bell cuirass fell out of favour by the time of the 4th century which is the period your original post asks about.
You can be creative and mix up the units. My COVID project was a 28mm Greek army and I used all the different boxes by Victrix and ended up painting 400 hoplites using contrast paints and washes. In fact I probably spent more on LBM shield transfers and Really Useful Boxes than I did on figures.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2022 10:34 p.m. PST

During the Peloponnesian War, no Spartan holites wear cuirass and no cnemides, they are all in exomi tunics, which at the time seems to have been also a distinctive sign of the Peloponnesians, in fact as the Spartans of the Peloponnesian Wars only wore the Pylos helmet , they had become uniform!

Their opponents wearing rather the chiton and seem to no longer wear linen corselets as did the Spartans before the Peloponnesian War.

This state of affairs was not due to poverty but to the fact that they wanted to maneuver faster!

And then what happens, I read somewhere that at the time of Phillip II of Macedon, they adopted the bronze "muscled" cuirass (Greek version not to be confused with the Italian version), put back cnemides and adopted the Thracian helmet, nothing seen with the equipment worn previously.

But I don't think they re-adopted linen corselets after the Peloponnesian wars.

As for the choice of miniatures, I hate plastic…

Right now, when the range exists I'm selling my 28mm armies to replace them with 25mm MiniFigs,otherwise I keep them.

sidley23 Jun 2022 3:57 a.m. PST

Interesting opinions. Where do you get the evidence that Spartans did not wear body armour in the Peloponnesian war or the increase in bronze armour.

JJartist23 Jun 2022 10:38 a.m. PST

The opinion that "I don't think they re-adopted linen corselets after the Peloponnesian wars." Makes little sense since even Xenophon seems to make clear that was the case- that hoplites wore armor when they could afford it.
Artwork created after 400 BC confirms use of both.

As for plastic figures, and Minifigs 25's. I do not see any relevance to the question since in both one can find plenty of armored and unarmored figures.

Muscle armored and linothorax evidence after 401 BC:

Greek art. Grave relief for a soldier. Athens. C. 330 B.C. Marble.


London. England. British Museum, Nereid Monument, frieze (detail), hoplite warriors in combat, and archer drawing a bow, from Xanthos, Turkey, ca. 390


London. England. British Museum, Nereid Monument, frieze (detail), Phalanx of hoplite soldiers advancing. from Xanthos, Turkey, ca. 390-380 B.C.


Unarmored at least while on the march 410 BC:
Berlin. Germany. Altes Museum. Funerary Relief of Sosias and Kephisodoros, marble, ca. 410 BC. Funerary relief


Paskal Supporting Member of TMP24 Jun 2022 10:25 a.m. PST

In peter connolly's books and the various ospreys on spartans, why is this a mistake?

Thanks for the links . So according to you, they re-adopted linen corselets after the Peloponnesian wars?

JJartist24 Jun 2022 10:50 p.m. PST

"So according to you, they re-adopted linen corselets after the Peloponnesian wars?"

I would say they never actually stopped wearing armor. Conditions changed during the long wars. Art trends changed. I'm just showing you the art that is dated after the Peloponnesian war in a quick search. You can make your own conclusion. The Macedonians also adopted tube and yoke armor so there is nothing uncommon about it.

As I said at the start I would expect all sorts of different kinds of gear at Chaeronea from all the different contingents.
I would not expect units to be entirely armored or entirely unarmored. If the Theban Sacred Band fought in a front rank – at this time – I would expect them to wear armor.
I doubt there would be heroically naked soldiers in large numbers, but there is always the odd few show offs.

Plus there is the one third hoplites in the center from the allied states, of which there is little info.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2022 6:38 a.m. PST

In Campaign N°363 it says they re-adopted linen corselets after the Peloponnesian wars, as well as the muscled cuirass (Latin: lorica musculata)without forgetting those who do not want it, but not systematically, we had to find cuirass of all types in the same rank and it's weird for me.

Anyway, in a wargame, it makes everything more tedious.

In the OSPREY. MILITARY. ELITE SERIES. 7. THE ANCIENT GREEKS, it's about the hoplites who wear muscled cuirass again, certainly because of the Macedonian sarissae which are very heavy and therefore more lethal than the Hoplite spears, I don't remember if they gave cnemids , but they have Thracian helmets because it was fashionable at the time.

sidley25 Jun 2022 12:32 p.m. PST

There is no evidence whatsoever that the Greeks adopted Bronze armour to combat the Sarissa.
Phillip completely reorganised the Macedonian army after 359 when the Illyrians inflicted a heavy defeat on the Macedonians causing serious casualties. It is likely the reformed army first saw action against the Phocians in the Third Sacred War where he was defeated twice and at the third time of trying finally won at the Crocus fields in 352. He on because of superior numbers and his cavalry (including the Thessalians) plus many Phocian mercenaries deserted as they were said to have an attack of conscious about the impiety of their Phocian paymasters.
Phillip then marched south but Thermopylae was blocked by the Athenians. Phillip declined to attack and marched away.
These were the only times the new Macedonian army faced Greek armies before Chaeronea and at no time had the Macedonian phalanx proved itself a threat to hoplites. So as well as the absence of evidence there is no good reason to see a superiority of the phalanx over the hoplite before Chaeronea, which would necessitate a massive change and investment in bronze armour.
If bronze was so much better against pike than linen, why did the affluent successors not adopt it but retained linen armour.
When you say "certainly because of the Macedonian Sarissa which are very heavy", is that from the book or your opinion?

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP26 Jun 2022 3:35 a.m. PST


There is no evidence that the Greeks adopted bronze armor to fight the Sarissa, yes and it would make sense…

At no time had the Macedonian phalanx proved a threat to the hoplites and they faced it from Font?

So its creation will have been useless?.

Why didn't wealthy successors adopt it but kept linen weave?

Because of the weight and the price!

It's my opinion, the sarisse is heavier to be more effective than the hoplite lance otherwise it is useless ?

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